How to Write a Victorian Classic
The Victorian era was one of the richest times for novels. Many genres that are still popular today originated in their modern forms in the nineteenth century, and most modern writers are influenced by at least one or two writers from the age. Here’s a list of ways you can take the original greatness and make it your own:
1. Don’t plan ahead. Victorian writers usually wrote one chapter at a time to be showcased in serialized publications. Their books were only released as such after experiencing success with the masses, but they only worried about one chapter at a time. You’re probably going to want to make changes to your novel as you write, so don’t add any more than a rough outline before you start.
2. Enter your novel. Enter it. Be its voice, its narrator. You are introducing it to your readers, so you want to be a friendly and casual host. Tell them explicitly what they should expect to get for reading your novels–entertainment, moral values, etc. Don’t shy away!
Image credit: Mateusz Stachowsky
3. Be poetic. Poetry will make you sound more cultured and better educated. Sure, it isn’t fore everyone, and there are plenty of Victorian novels that don’t have poems, but you don’t need to be a great poet to write a few rhymes and slip them in here and there. Especially if you fit it to the meter and rhyme scheme of “Amazing Grace.”
4. Well, actually there isn’t a #4. As much as I tried to box in a literary era that’s often stereotyped, there really isn’t much that I could find that these novels all have in common. They have dramatically different characters, plots and settings. Nothing that I listed above is even true for more than a few authors
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!